The Surprising Benefits of Tantrums (Building Emotional Intelligence)

Parents want to know: How do I stop the tantrums and end the meltdowns? 

If you've ever heard yourself saying things like:

Stop crying!
There is no reason to get upset.
It's not that big of a deal!

Oh, you're fine!
- then you've probably been overwhelmed by the intensity of your child's emotions.

As hard as they can be to tolerate, those meltdowns are a critical part of our survival, and they are building blocks to better behavior.

What we call good behavior is actually the result of emotionally intelligent choices. 

But, what creates emotional intelligence? 

Dr. John Gottman, the founder of the Gottman Institute, has studied relationships for over 40 years. He says -

“It is really very simple. Words of understanding, empathy, and validation must precede words of advice. Emotions can only be controlled when they are understood. Understanding must precede advice."
When we listen to our children's feelings, we're not ignoring poor behavior. We're enhancing the developmental process by flooding the brain with the good-feeling hormones it needs to secure important neural connections.

Before they can learn new ways of handling overwhelming emotions, children have to be allowed to first feel their feelings without judgment and without worrying that our love or approval hangs in the balance.

I want to share with you the surprising benefits of tantrums so you can understand why letting your child come unglued is one of the best decisions you could ever make.  Kids aren't incapacitated by our attention to their emotions - they are empowered by it.

You don't need punishment and rewards to change behavior, you only need connection and compassion.

Studies show that punishment causes kids to internalize negative self-concepts and it does not help children develop more positive behaviors.

Kids simply become better at hiding, sneaking, and stuffing down the negative feelings.

"...parenting practices that included punitive interactions were associated with elevated rates of all child disruptive behavior problems." 1

Now, what about you?
Is it hard for you to let your child express anger, upset or disappointment without trying to intervene?

What's the toughest part of allowing your child's tantrum to unfold? 

Which benefit mentioned in the video can you imagine having the most impact - if you could just back off a tiny bit?  

Leave a note in the comments and share your experience because - you never know - it may be just what someone else needs to hear. 

Talk soon, 

1. Parenting Practices and Child Disruptive Behavior Problems in Early Elementary School Elizabeth A. Stormshak , Karen L. Bierman , Robert J. McMahon , Liliana J. Lengua Journal of Clinical Child Psychology Vol. 29, Issue 1, 2000

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